Popularly known as trapped intestines and constipation, constipation is a very common disorder that affects between 15% to 30% of the world population. Among the most common causes of constipation, we can cite as responsible a diet such as low intake of fiber and liquids, physical inactivity, in addition to excessive consumption of animal protein and processed foods. However, since constipation is a symptom and not a disease, the main treatment for the problem is based on correcting habits in the diet and lifestyle. That is, a higher intake of fibers, liquids and functional foods with laxative properties is recommended. In addition, the ingestion of tea with a laxative effect can be applied with caution, such as the infusion of sacred cascara or even the tea of espinheira-santa and myrtle.

Use of laxatives for the treatment of constipation

It is quite common to prescribe laxatives to assist in the treatment of constipation, especially in children, young people, the elderly and menopausal women. But, it is important not to abuse laxative substances. The action of laxatives artificially stimulates the large intestine, but their action depends on the absorption of nutrients and water. That is, if ingested constantly, laxatives can stimulate a high loss of water in the body, which can lead to severe malnutrition.

Ingestion of Sacred Cascara in the treatment of constipation

Scientific evidence points out that Sacred Cáscara must and can be prescribed as a natural laxative. But only in cases where there is really no possibility of evacuation even adopting changes in lifestyle and diet. It acts as a natural laxative due to the presence of cathartic compounds and purgatives that make contractions in the colon and increase peristaltic movements, facilitating the elimination of feces. In addition to acting as a laxative, the plant can also act as a diuretic, emenagogue, stomach stimulant, tonic and collagogue, as well as elderberries.

Mechanism of action and active compounds

Among the main assets that make up the plant, we can mention aldemodine-ranol, aloe-emodine, aloines, barbaloines, cascarosides A, B, C and D, emodine, in addition to anthraquinone heterosides. The anthracenic compounds give Cáscara Sagrada its collagogue and natural laxative properties, acting efficiently in the cleansing and detoxification of the colon.

On the other hand, substances such as barbaloin and chrysaloin, stimulate and increase peristalsis in the colon, helping to eliminate the fecal bolus. However, its laxative action appears after 6 hours after being ingested in a milder way than other laxatives, such as lacto purga, for example.

How should I drink Cascara Sagrada tea?

The suggested daily recommendation is 50mg to 600mg daily, divided into up to 3 daily doses, not to exceed one continuous week. If you are going to use the dried plant to prepare your tea, you should not exceed 1g per day. To prepare the tea, you can use a tablespoon of the dry plant, which does not exceed 1g, for 1 liter of water. Boil for 5 minutes and drink tea up to 3 times a day after cooling.

Toxicity and contraindication of Sacred Cascara

Finally, anyone who chooses to use the plant as a natural laxative for the treatment of constipation, should be aware of possible reactions. First, its use should not be prolonged, let alone ingested in high doses. That is, its continuous use should not exceed one week, nor ingest more than 1 g per day of the dry sacred cascara when applied in teas. In addition, its use is contraindicated in pregnancy, lactation and for children under 6 years.


– Cáscara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana): Uma Revisão de Literatura.

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